i’m not a rockafella like you

what do you mean i can't pay you with this?
Hang on, it’s finna get random up in here pretty quick. I think California must be the only state in the union where people sell meat door-to-door. In Florida, we never got door-to-door salespeople. The only people that came unbidden to your door were Jehova’s Witnesses or Mormons. In college we got those “subscribe to some magazines so I can go to Paris” people, but never the volume we get here in CA. Back to the meat. These people actually come around in refrigerated trucks, hawking boxes full of assorted frozen meats. Steaks, burgers, kebabs, etc. It was such a foreign concept to me to see some guy at my door trying to sell me meat. Strange.

Check it out, Florida has a searchable online sex offender database, with mugshots and all! How fun to look up your home town and see how many dudes you know are now registered sex offenders. I went to school with this guy, and this guy, and I even played BB gun war in the woods with this one. Awesome. I knew the database existed, but I was reminded by a link on Fark (perhaps the best site on the internet). The thread about the link was just too rich not too link, so here ’tis – the pictures linked in there were cracking me up last night. Too bad CA doesn’t have an online one, you have to pay $10 per two inquiries, and it’s only by phone. Where’s the fun in that CA?

The recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie is one of my favorite movies of all time I think. Excellent story, with fighting and treasure and love and elements of fantasy. Excellent acting on the part of Depp, and the supremely (only one tick below Ms. Portman in my personal rankings) radiant Keira Knightley (who looks the the winner of some awesome Winona Ryder/Natalie Portman Mr. Potato Head contest, getting the better bits of each). Not to mention some kickass special effects with the whole skeleton-human-skeleton fighting. Rad to the bone y’all, rad to the bone.

Benz went to visit his brother in the NYC for Thanksgiving, and brought back some new tunes. Not unlike myself, Bother Dave is a indie-rock sympathizer – and even fancies himself a drummer in a real live NYC indie band. In other words, he’s in “the scene” up to his hips and occasionally acquires new tunes that somehow slip past Benz’ or my radar. Ben hand carried Quickspace, The Prids, and Clearlake cross the country within the safe confines of his iPod – and thoughtfully shared them with me upon his return. Based on early reports from a mere 15% of the polling precincts, I’d say we have some winners here. More on the new tunes as I decide whether I love them or simply think they don’t sound like Creed. Yes, Creed is the ruler by which all things suck are measured. Sorry.

Thanks to the blog, some pretense has been established where it is assumed that I have these random meandering and kooky thoughts all the time. While it’s generally true that I’m random and excitable by nature, I’m not as odd as the blog may make me out. You think I talk like that paragraph above when you meet me in person? I’d have no friends.

You guys wanna hear some shit? Between the two of us, Sharaun and I have like $40k of school debt. Yeah, that’s right… that’s like forty thousand dollars. Sometimes I think that college is the ultimate Catch 22. I plunge headlong into debt to further my education, all so I can get a higher-paying job that just enables me to pay back the huge debt I went into getting it. Couldn’t I be just as happy driving a tractor with a GED and socking all my 100% profit earnings into savings? Maybe, who knows. What I do know is that I need a serious windfall to get me out from under the specter of that massive black hole of debt. Anyone got any ideas? And Pat, don’t give me some smartass comment about how I should go back in time and finance my entire education by “working.” I’m not a Rockafella like you, and we all know every choice I’ve ever made is somehow deficient compared to what you would’ve done in the same situation.

But fo rilla y’allz… I gotta win some kinda lottery or something… get myself on a level playing field so I can keep some of the fruits of my “labor.” Ugh. I know I’m too young to be complaining about the seesaw not swinging the other way, I guess the college education was so that after time – things more than balance out in my favor. We’ll see, one can only hope. While I wait, anyone wanna pay me insane amounts of money to make mediocre webpages and fill them with banal rambling? Oh yeah, I’ll need full medical and dental too. No takers? Hmmm.. how surprising.

Dave out.

i’m a leftist rhymer

defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever
Took this test (with a lil’ help from Sharaun) and ranked as a “Pop Junkie.” Combined, we fully kicked this test’s arse. I thought it was kinda fun, but only if ya got a good bit o’ time to waste on it.

If ya noticed, I fixed the comment script. Yup, it was exactly the problem I thought it was. I just needed someone on the host server to reset my permissions page so I could make the comments database writeable again. I had been sending unanswered mails to tech support since last Wednesday, every one of them marked as “level 3: critical site or network outage,” and I was getting increasingly short and kinda ornery with them. So yesterday, I decided to go the other route – and mostly out of frustration fired off this guy:

i tried to set some permissions,
but 404s filled my visions.

“page not found” is all i see,
why would they do this to me?

it worked last week i swear,
but now the page ain’t there.

oh sweet permissions,
how i wish i could change thee,
because right now my visitors,
cannot write to my DB.

i’ve wrote a hundred times now,
always “level 3,”
adaptive won’t you please,
chmod or calcs for me.

thanks!

dave
www.pharaohweb.com

Now, I don’t know if it was coincidence or not, but within hours I got this:

We will reset the permissions link immediately.
Sorry for the delay.

tech@daveshost.net

After which the permissions page was back in order, and I replied with the following:

you guys are da bomb, sorry if i sounded harsh… not like the fate of the free world hinges on my dumb blog anyway 😉

take it easy!! hope ya had a good turkey day.

dave
www.pharaohweb.com

Yeah, I was easy on ’em, but they did get it fixed. Don’t think I didn’t entertain thoughts of nastiness. At one point yesterday I had tracked down the name and home number of the dude who owns the server that was misbehaving. I even managed to dig up pictures of him and his extended family. The web can be scary in the wrong hands, but I donned my white hat and took the high road. I’m just glad the site’s working, and you can all leave nice derisive comments again. Ahhh, the world is right once more.

Been seriously hitting the Decmeberists again. I think I’ve moved onto Phase Three of musical enjoyment with them. Lemme break it down for you. Phase One is the “humming” phase. I listen primarily to the tune of the songs, the music dominates and it’s what I remember most. Sure, I might learn a hook or two lyrics-wise, but not much more than that. Phase Two is the “hearing” phase. This is where I listen to and learn the words of the song. At this point I’m mainly concerned with being able to sing along, ’cause you can derive all new levels of enjoyment from a song when you can sing along with it. Phase Three is the “ah-ha!” phase. This is where I start interpreting the words I’ve been trying to learn. I put the song together to pick out ideas and themes, and try to figure out what’s being sung about. I think Phase Three is the ultimate level of enjoyment I can get from music, like being in on the secret message the songwriter is trying to get across or something.

Anyway, I’m in Phase Three with the two (one, two) Decemberists albums now – and yesterday at work these songs sent me to dictionary.com like a hundred times. Seriously, this guy must have an old 18th century thesaurus nearby when he pens his songs. With gems like “stevedore,” “bombazine,” “oligarchs,” “laudanum,” and countless others – he by far out-vocab’s anyone I’ve ever listened to. I even got tongue-tied reading the reviews of the dang albums. But whatever, I’ve talked about a group 90% of you don’t care about (and would probably laugh off as novelty) for too long now. Next subject please.

Anthony and I were talking yesterday about how much we like getting new tools. We both agreed that, the less oft-used the tool, the more we want it. Meaning, I have no problem buying tools I’ll only use once – on the contrary, I love it more than buying tools I’ll use every day. Saturday I bought a staple gun to help hang the Christmas lights on the eaves. I bought the most top-of-the-line model that Home Depot had. Why? Hell, I don’t know why. I’ll probably only ever use it once a year, but if staple guns ever come up in conversation I’ll be able to say “I have a sweet staple gun, super powerful, the best.” I guess it’s also a status thing, the more tools I have the more times I can say “I have one you can borrow” to a buddy lamenting about not owning a planer when his project requires one; to which he’ll reply “Really, awesome. I can’t believe you have one of those.” Obscure tool: check, ego-food: check. Done and done.

Even though I’ve shied away from talking about the blog in person (talking about it makes me feel like you think I write it just so you’ll talk to me about it, and that makes me feel like a cheap attention whore), my pops said something interesting to when we were together over Thanksgiving. I don’t know how often my folks read the blog, but I suspect pops reads it fairly regularly. Anyway, he made the comment this weekend that we think a lot alike. Actually he said something to the tune of “we think a lot alike David, it’s kinda scary.” Pops… I agree! I don’t wanna think like you – you’re insane! Anyway, I thought that was kinda cool. Pop: you can talk about the blog when you want, you’re OK in my book. Makes me wonder though, how many of the millions of things I thought about during my youth did my parents also think about at one time during their youth.

Last night Sara (or Dan? I dunno) and I got to talking about rhymes and I realized that there are two distinct schools of rhyming. I’m what I like to think of as a “relative” rhymer, whereas Sharaun is a very “literal” rhymer. I guess you could say I’m a leftist rhymer, while Sharaun is a right-wing rhyming nut. Us rhyming liberals have it a lot easier than the rhyme-Nazis though, that’s for sure. For me, “away” rhymes with “foyer” and “bacon” rhymes with “naked.” For Sharaun, “away” rhymes with nothing, and “bacon” only rhymes with “Macon” or maybe “shaken.” Literal rhymers need both absolute rhymage and matching syllable count. Relative rhymers are happy enough with similar sounding words like “leanest” and the last ‘P’ of O.P.P. (for the ladies).

Gee, what an eclectic and long-winded blog this turned out to be. I kinda cleaned out some of the “blog_ideas.txt” file and probably put too many unrelated things into one entry, but I was in the writing mood. Sheesh, just re-read this thing for “editorial” sake, I write terribly sometimes. How can you even figure out what I’m trying to say? That paragraph about my dad’s comment… absolutely horrid. Sorry. That’s it for now.

Dave out.

back from the lodge

they hurt from 5ft
Ahhh… the middle child of the year-end holiday blitz has come and gone. Too bad, since I’m thrust back into the loads of work I put off in anticipation of my time off. Now I’ve got to work double hard (which is about 1/5 of a normal person’s regular work) to catch up. Anyway… Thanksgiving was great. I was holed up in the Strawberry Lodge, eating, drinking, and reading by the fire. Oh, and napping… did a fair bit o’ napping too. I came home feeling awesome, rested, full-bellied, and all-around radical.

As you may have noticed, I wasn’t able to blog at the lodge – what’s more, is that I didn’t even want to blog at the lodge. A couple times I pulled out the trusty laptop and thought about powering it on and writing, but I ultimately decided not to. It was nice, but it does mark the first time since the blog’s inception that weekdays were missed. It’s cool tho, I got nuthin’ but love for the blog.

Oh, and speaking of the blog – the dang comment script is still broken. And the lovely people at my hosting company have been ignoring my “critical site issue” support e-mails since Wednesday of last week. Nothing I can do at this point except wait around to hear from them. Now’s the time when I wish I had my own server. Bah.

Got back home on Saturday and watched the Florida vs. Florida State game, that stunk. Then watched a really cool movie about compulsive gambling. Being at the lodge, removed from TV and internet and phone – my reading cycle seems to have started back up again. See, I’m a big fan of reading for pleasure. However, I don’t always do it. I’ll get started on reading, and read faithfully every night for months at a time, devouring book after book. I read fantasy almost exclusively, I just love ’em. I know… it’s way nerdy, but that is the one genre that I most enjoy – as long as it’s quality fantasy and not crap. Melissa always makes fun of me for reading nothing but “troll books” with castles and dragons on the covers. For real tho, they could make the covers less conspicuous… those books scream D&D math-major from 30ft. Owell, whatever. Anyway… I’m back to reading, and hopefully it’ll last. Problem is, sometimes I’ll put down the book for a few days and not pick it up again for months. That’s how my pleasure reading goes: off and on.

Today I’m wearing those dark-as-night jeans again… I really don’t like the way they look. But hey, they fit. And for that they get worn. I’m gonna try and experiment tonight where I throw them in the washer with some bleach, maybe I can tone ’em down a bit. Whatever. Like I care.

Yesterday I invented the impromptu project of putting up Christmas lights on the house. I got me a staple gun and some gutter hooks and a whole mess of icicle lights. Everything went awesome, and the house looks great. I did, however, manage to drop a hammer on my skull – in true my-project fashion. I have this habit of forgetting I left the hammer on top of the ladder, and then going to move the ladder and having the hammer come toppling down. Usually it hits the ground and I breathe a little sigh of relief that it didn’t coldcock me. This time it coldcocked me, right on the forehead. It hurt down into my teeth.

OK I’m off, time to get ready for work. Dave out.

busted

Yup, the comment script is busted. I dunno how… I didn’t even muck with it. Seems there are some problems with the database permissions on my server, which I can’t fix right now because there are also some kinda problems with the page I have to use to change those permissions. If we’re lucky, it’ll all work itself out. Hang tight blog faithful.

Dave out.

my page is racist

i'm about to warp to level eight
Well, my brain is already on vacation. That tends to happen to me. I start thinking ahead, and my brain goes on vacation a couple days before my body gets to. I’m already thinking of sitting by a huge hearth, reading a book and sipping on a nice beer. Sitting here listening to the Plastic Ono Band album, Lennon’s first solo effort, what a great album. I remember hearing it for the first time back in 9th grade, brings back a lot of memories. I remember liking it a lot better than the Imagine album, which I had been introduced to first. Yeah, well, that’s that topic I suppose.

Last night you may or may not have noticed that the blog was broken for a few hours. Honestly, I thought I could get away with some upgrades while no one was looking. However, ’round about 11pm, the blog was broken and the page was showing a VBScript error while I was working on it. Lo and behold, Sara called me at home to inform me of the problem. I got a kick out of it (people really read this thing?). Anyway, we tried to debug the problem but by then I was totally fed up with the site. The whole thing started when I wanted to add a “search” box to the main page. I gotta admit, I mostly wanted it for myself, since I often need to find an old blog entry to copy some formatting I used. But I guess others could find it useful for finding old entries.

Anyway, I got it working, but decided that having a search on the main page is dumb. So I moved it to the archive page, where it made more sense to me to be able to search. I’ve done some limited testing, and it seems to work OK. Except for one strange bug that Sara found last night. See, I modified a freeware script to get the search on my page – and it seems that script might be racist. No foolin’. Try searching on the terms “black man,” and you’ll get an error. I’ve looked at the source code and it seems fine. Neither “white man,” nor “chinese man” produce similar results. What a strange error… but kinda funny. Hmm… looks like the search also lets you get to places I’ve delinked in the past. More optimizations to come… but for now, it’s working!

It’s almost Thanksgiving. I’m so pumped. Can’t wait to get out of work for a few days. Haven’t decided if I’m going to take a break from blogging or not, as it might not be something I can avoid. If I can’t upload, that’s all she wrote. It’ll be a good writin’ environment tho, so who knows. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

I was reading my new Maxim this morning while taking a rockin’ dump, and they had a Christmas gift guide type thing in there. Guess what they’re pimpin’ as a good gift? A classic arcade cocktail cabinet from Game Cabinets Inc. But holy crap, look at that price tag! They want $4000+ for something I built for $1000, and I don’t even think they ship with MAME or any games (for legal reasons). I should go into business and sell ’em for $2500 each (but then I’d need Anthony to agree to helping build them all). Dang. Anyway, I thought it was cool to see cocktail cabs gettin’ some attention.

OK, I’m done. That’s it until tomorrow. Sorry for the boring blog, but I’m webbed out after wrestling with the search script. See ya.

thiickkeenn your maan11y swordd

i do not know this man.
Holy crap. This weekend I finished the wall. I mean finished for real. I tapered the corners into the fence, and nearly completed the backfill. I’m gonna call the dirt guys this week and see about getting rid of the million yards of dirt I have left, and then it’s on to sprinklers. I’m so pumped that it’s done, I just stand in front of the window and look at it, imagining grass and a patio and pretty plants and flowers.

Sometimes you gotta wonder why spam exists at all. I mean, who the crap responds to this stuff? Obviously, spam sells products – or else we wouldn’t see it. So someone somewhere out there is actually clicking on and reading these things, and spending money as a result. Seems crazy to me, especially considering some of the spam I get. To me, this stuff is some of the least effective marketing I’ve ever seen. I mean, check it out… here’s a capture of my Hotmail “Junk Mail” box:

Let’s take them one by one, shall we?

Christmas Shopping for Record Collectors made…
OK great. See, here’s some good marketing. I might actually read this one. It’s in english, it’s target-advertising to me about something that I am really into. Good job eil.com/Espirit, it’s for this reason that I’ve actually used your site to purchase some rare Radiohead singles.

vvnn |?|-| arm .4 cy hh
Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about. What on earth is this even? I mean, this guy, khwemah haliniak, isn’t even using real words in his subject. Not only that, there are periods and pipes and all sorts of random punctuation in there too. What is it selling? How can this possibly entice me to look inside? The only thing I can think is that maybe my curiosity to see if it’s a coded message from some alien intelligence might persuade me to check it out. Otherwise, I don’t see the logic.

HLZO Doc (fill in your name) htn
Hey, I wonder if hamidou huwzawie and khwemah haliniak are from the same country? Maybe Randomania or something? This one is almost in English. However, here we see a good example of cheap spam. These spammers didn’t bother paying for whatever that software is that actually inserts my name into the subject and lends creedance to their message. Nay, these spammers simply ask me to personalize the spam for them. Nice. I also don’t know what “HLZO” means, but my brain seems to want to read it as “hello.” That means I read this as: “Hello Doc David htn.” Hmm… still not very effective if you ask me.

Hi;, v1brat0rs!->> 1NTERNEET SSPPEC11^L! oii…
Sal wants to sell me vibrators. But he’s too leet to just come out and ask like a normal person. Here we see another common spam practice: making readable or recognizable words out of numbers and characters that don’t belong. Also, Sal is very redundant with his punctuation. With the use of both the semicolon and comma, there is no question as to whether or not I should pause after reading “Hi.” We also see a lot of letter-doubling. Again, who buys from someone who writes a sales pitch like this?

yblm Thiickkeenn your maan11y swordd vq
Ahh, now this speaks right to me. If we ignore the random opening and closing non-words, we can see that xueyan sebanc (estranged cousin to hamidou and khwemah) wants to “thicken” my “manly sword.” Let’s consider I’m a grandma with a Hotmail account. If, by some stroke of luck, I’m able to decipher the double-letter, number sprinkled, coded subject line – you think the statement “thicken your manly sword” will mean a damn thing to me? Here’s my wallet, take what you need.

ALERT: $10 Coupon Valid in ALL Stores**
DAVID, We Miss You

OK OK OK, here goes some decent spam. I’ve bought from buy.com on several occasions. Here they send me a coupon, and what’s better – they tell me exactly that, in English no less, right in the subject. I see who it’s from, I see what it is, I understand this spam. Also, BMG misses me. I dunno if that’s an attempt to guilt me into rejoining their music club or what. Yes, I have, at one point, been a member of both Columbia House and BMG. Under several different names no less. I’ll tell you the scam: Join under whatever name you want, take your 15 free cds, wait a few months and send them a typed letter telling them you’ve joined the Navy and will be on a carrier at sea for the next 24 months. You will be absolved of your commitment to buy more cds with no questions asked, every time. I used to be joined under two or three different names at each address, and we’d all go in the Navy or Army or French Foreign Legion eventually. Built the makings of my cd collection that way.

Almost vacation time. Today and tomorrow and then I’m off, can’t wait. Last night I messed around with some morphing software, and also learned how to DivX compress a video. I’m gonna take all the huge videos currently on my site and DivX compress them, since it shrinks them to much more manageable sizes (especially for the dialup dinosaurs out there). Morphing is cool, I’m gonna start morphing all kinds of stuff I think.

Dave out.

fake your way

the forest I wearily tread on a daily basis
Some things can make me feel so stupid. At work, I sometimes find myself in a situation where someone is asking me a question – and I have no idea what the answer is. Thing is, I should know the answer – but more likely than not I haven’t cared enough about it previously to learn it. I may have heard it a thousand times, but I just filter it right out. Thing is, I usually don’t learn until I’m burned. By that I mean I really only learn things that I don’t care about in one of two ways: by rote, or because I have to learn them. I don’t learn the answer to a question until I’m put on the spot and embarrassed for not knowing it. I don’t pick up on things unless I’m immersed in them every day. I ignore important details because I simply don’t care. It’s all about what I find interesting I guess. I am able retain knowledge I don’t care about – but if I do it’s either because I know it by heart and don’t have to commit brainspace to it or someone’s called me out for not knowing it before. It somewhat comes down to being selfish I think. I don’t want to be embarrassed, so the memory of feeling like a heel spurs me to commit something to memory.

If I care about, or am interested in, something – it sticks up there whether or not I will it. Even tho I didn’t intend for the derivation of the quadratic formula to be burned in my head, it’s there. I didn’t purposely memorize the lyrics to “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” they just stuck. My dumb old head just works that way. I don’t care about stuff I don’t care about and I don’t like doing things I don’t like to do. My selfish head will bypass stuff I should know; or commit it to rote for the short-term so I can get by, then trash it when the immediate need to remember it is gone. I’ve always been about “just getting by” when it comes to learning stuff I have no interest in. However, when it comes to learning about something that intrigues me – I attack it with some kind of hunger. Devouring all I can find and retaining a surprising amount of it for the long term.

That’s one of the things that bugs me about work (not my specific job, but work in general). Ideally, my job would involve a knowledgebase that I enjoy having and knowing. I want to have a job where I want to learn more, where I want to know that extra tidbit that sets me apart from the other guy. My best example comes from working in the music store. I used to get so much respect for how much I knew about music. My recommendations were pretty much always lauded, and eventually I had a returning-customer base who asked for me because they knew and trusted me. I liked knowing what I knew, and what’s more, it fed my ego to know it.

A job where you’re respected and praised for your knowledge, that’s what I enjoy most. I have occasional burst of that now, but the thing is – I have to care about every bit of the material related to my job in order to gain enough expertise and win that respect. If I don’t care about it, I don’t learn it, and then I don’t get that respect. Bottom line?, gimme a job doing something I intensely enjoy: webpages, music, writing, etc., and maybe it won’t even seem like a job. I shouldn’t complain, I do like what I do right now – but I find myself saddled with that same attitude of “who cares” in way too many instances. So, like so much of my academic past, I fake my way through and buckle down when I have to – and somehow get good at it.

Back in gradeschool they used to tell me, “You just can’t fake your way through middle school David, it’s the real deal.” Then, as I was graduating from three years of faked-through middle school they’d say, “Mister, you better really buckle down come high school. You just can’t breeze your way through there, there’s no ‘faking it’ in high school. You’ll be swimming with the big fish there.” Shortly after I faked my way to 6th in class and a full scholarship, my guidance counselor said “This is it David, you’re an adult now and this is your life. You won’t be able to fake your way through a job, so you better get straight.” Screw ’em, I’ll keep on fakin’. Feigning interest in whatever it takes to keep a paycheck, but secretly (between you, and me, and the entire internet), not giving a damn about anything but what I want to. Bollocks to them all, this is one ne’er-do-well who will always work the system as much as possible.

I’m truly happy when I’m listening to music and writing or reading. I’m truly happy when I’m camping or hanging with my good friends. I’m truly happy every day when I come home to my wife. I’m truly happy when I’m working on our house or yard. I’m truly happy when I can wake up in the morning knowing I have no set plans for the day, even more happy if I know the same for the next day too. I’m truly happy when I can “get away” and spend time with family or even by myself. I wonder if, regardless of vocation, there will always be that need for release via “getting away” from whatever it is that becomes your “daily grind.” Maybe true happiness only comes with the autonomy that retirement or winning the lottery brings? Yeah right.

I’ve said it to Anthony many times. While drifting down the river on his boat, no destination, no time to be back, nothing on my mind but what a nice day it is and how comfortable I am: “Dude, this is why I work.” It’s true. I work not to “better myself,” or “get ahead,” or “make a name for” myself; I work so I can enjoy the times when I’m not working. So I can pay my bills and afford to buy Anthony a tank of gas for the favor of a day on his boat. So I can afford the gear I need to take three days off and climb Half Dome with my friends. So I can take Sharaun to a nice steak dinner and still afford her favorite candy at the movie. All those self help books that talk about getting ahead and getting noticed or whatnot, you can have that trash. I need surprisingly few things to make me truly happy, and work is not one of them. Unfortunately, by way of association – money is. Not money itself mind you, but money nonetheless. So, I work. And will continue to do so. Work is a (by and large unfulfilling) means to an end.

Wow, a semi-personal entry, a thing of blog lore. I admit to a bit of job dissatisfaction (in that it’s not my #1 dream job), I admit that my learning is largely selfishly motivated, and I admit that I need some ego stroking to make me truly happy.

In other news, I found this article quite relevant.

Dave out.